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Pete Buttigieg Asks 'Religious Left' to Support Prisoners, Sex Workers

Pete Buttigieg calls for religious left to support prisoners, sex workers, and immigrants weeks after Chelsea Manning comments.

Contrary to all those right-wing politicians who use religion as a cudgel to beat down marginalized groups, Pete Buttigieg says that supporting vulnerable communities like prisoners and sex workers is the Christian thing to do.

The Indiana mayor, who will likely seek the Democratic presidential nomination but hasn’t officially announced his campaign yet, opened up about his Christian faith in a recent media appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Speaking to co-hosts Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, and Willie Geist, Buttigieg — an openly gay Episcopalian who married his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, at South Bend’s Cathedral of St. James — said that “the time has come” to “reclaim faith” outside of the religious right so that a “religious left” can emerge in our country.

“[Religion] teaches us to reach out to others, to humble ourselves, to take care of others,” he said in a segment that aired last week. “The immigrant, the prisoner, and, frankly, the sex worker — literally! Jesus spends his time with sex workers, among others, lepers. [In American politics,] we have this warped idea of what Christianity should be like when it comes into the public sphere, and it’s mostly about exclusion, which is the last thing that I imbibe when I take in scripture in church.”

Buttigieg’s call for supporting prisoners is interesting, considering he recently said that he was “troubled” by former Pres. Barack Obama’s decision to commute Chelsea Manning’s 35-year prison sentence before leaving office. His call for supporting sex workers is also of note considering he didn’t seem to know much about FOSTA-SESTA when Out profiled him in February. Could his comments on Morning Joe signal a shift in his platform with respect to the rights of prisoners and sex workers? We’ll just have to wait and see.

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